Remembrance of Things Past

I have a new post up on my blog about my family. Feedback would be most welcome. Thanks.


Datuk Gong: Men of Great Importance

Datuk Kong Gat Lebuh Melayu
Datuk Gong shrine on Gat Lebuh Melayu in George Town, Penang.

I’ve seen them all my life, but never paid much attention to the little red ‘houses’ that sit in back alleys, under trees, or street corners around Malaysia. They are shrines to Datuk Gong, or Na Tuk Kong, guardian spirits of the land.Read More »

A Sign! A Sign!

Sister Mary Tey feels that there is a reason why we met as we did – the way she whatsapped me, out of the blue, just when I was thinking of contacting her was more than coincidence, but a chance for her to guide me back to god (my words, not hers).

I admit that I was ready to see it as a sign. I feel desperate enough to want to be convinced that I will be saved, and that Don and I will be fine if I pray. However, I don’t think it’s (me going to church and stopping being an atheist) is going to happen. I can’t believe. I don’t believe. I won’t go through the motions of believing on the off-chance that all will be well if I say and do the ‘right’ things.

Today she sent me a message containing a story that was supposed to inspire me, but it just made me angry. It was a story about a man whinging about having had the worst day and god telling him why each thing that went ‘wrong’ was actually god stopping something even worse happening. What the actual fuck? This story is supposed to inspire me? Let’s not even go there.


I get that if there were an all-knowing creator who had our best interest at heart, we wouldn’t be able to comprehend their logic and purpose, and lots of sucky things that happen in the world would just seem unfair and even plain dumb. I also get that it will take faith to accept the existence of this creator and that what they do is always best for the world. I don’t have that faith, why would I?

Once upon a time, I thought I did have ‘faith’, or what passed for it. I found it easy enough to just believe, but I didn’t have a reason to believe. I mean, I was told that this was what I should believe and so I did. Believing didn’t actually mean anything to me. It didn’t make me feel anything. What was I supposed to feel? Peace? Joy? I did love the rituals, and the pomp and ceremony of the mass, and the beauty and poetry of sacramentals, devotional articles, and non-liturgical prayers, but I still appreciate all those things, without having belief in god.

If I were to attend mass now I would just be annoyed by the modern liturgy, the sung parts sounding like the worst kinds of pop melodies. You need to believe to excuse such ugliness. I suppose you would need to be able to ignore the poor word choice and the trite tunes, and focus on their meaning. I couldn’t do that. I’m shallow that way.







Bones in a bag

Two men with a bag full of human bones were arrested in Ogun State, Nigeria.

One of the men confessed that the bones were his sister’s (she died four years ago) and that they had been exhumed for ‘money ritual purpose’ (read about it here).

Yeah, why not? Broke? Just dig up your mum’s femur, add a few chips off your dad’s patella and top it with a handful of teeth from random relatives. Mix it up with a pint of spit and utter some magical words (‘Abracadabra’ doesn’t actually work, try something more magical, like ‘Roger Sutton’) and (voila!) that’s your mortgage paid up and no need to sell your body.


But my favourite magic story out of Nigeria is the one about the car thief who changes into a goat, and gets arrested. I chose this Daily Mail article because it has the best headline. Also this quote from a police officer: ‘We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody.’

There is no follow-up story so I don’t know if the goat/car thief stood trial, or ended up in soup, or both.

Another horny criminal.


Your ignorance isn’t welcome here

I met a young man just the other day, an acquaintance of a friend. He (I’ll call him Mr A) comes from a wealthy family, attended university in Boston, USA. My friend describes him as privileged and obnoxious and I agree with her. He is a cocky bastard and did not endear himself to me when he, almost as soon as we met, made what I consider to be a remark that betrayed his racism and ignorance.Read More »